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Workshop C in Eldoret (14/05/2012 - 18/05/2012)

The third workshop of the SEED project was divided into two areas, both in terms of content (ICT and archiving) and regionally (Eldoret and Nairobi).

The aim of Workshop C in Eldoret was also to the exchange of experiences on site, the expansion of the video conference network in order to integrate all Moi University locations and potential project partners into this system in the future. The knowledge gained in dealing with less powerful or reliable IT resources is to be incorporated into the interactive e-learning system to enable virtual and thus location-independent lectures at Moi University.

The video conferencing system installed in the first year of the project was now to be extended by another location in Nairobi as part of Workshop C, in order to be able to support so-called multipoint conferences in the future. For this reason, the ICT research group split into two teams. While one ICT group flew to the Moi University campus in Eldoret, the other was able to take advantage of good contact with the Goethe Institute in Nairobi and carry out several successful tests for a video conference covering three locations (Eldoret-Nairobi-Bayreuth) from their infrastructure. It turned out that the system worked relatively reliably despite the suboptimally developed basic ICT infrastructure (in Kenya) and its sometimes extremely restrictive use, which can be classified as a valuable contribution to the successful implementation of the project goals. The UMTS network of Safari.com, on the other hand, seems to be unsuitable for video conferencing.

All workshop participants again showed great interest in the e-learning system eEE developed by the Chair of Applied Computer Science IV at the University of Bayreuth, which enables the operation of interactive lectures. The further development of this system should focus precisely on the use of smartphones, as they play an increasingly important role in the everyday lives of students and university staff. In this way, apps could be developed that can make positive use of the resources and management of the universities.

In addition to dealing with these technical challenges, several organizational tasks were solved. For example, the two guest researchers from Moi University were given virtual access to the IT infrastructure of the University of Bayreuth and have since been in close cooperation with the IT Service Centre well before their stay in Bayreuth. In addition to briefings and training in the administrative part of the video conferencing system, there is a lively transfer of knowledge about network and hardware technology.

During the stay in Eldoret, the cooperation between the Margaret Thatcher Main Library at Moi University and the University of Bayreuth’s Library was significantly strengthened by the meeting of the respective heads of the institutes. Thus, the guests from Bayreuth were able to gain deep insights into the library and IT equipment as well as into the administration and digitization processes of the library in Eldoret. The knowledge gained here is to form the basis for a joint archiving platform between the two universities.

In addition, further progress was made with regard to the digitization of academic theses. In addition to the number of digitized works, the intended cooperation between the School of Arts and Social Sciences and the Margret Thatcher Library was significantly strengthened. In future, the library will provide both its repository server and access to DSPACE. In addition to long-term availability, this will above all make it possible to publish theses internationally and thus make them available digitally outside Moi University. Since 2005, all theses at Moi University have had to be submitted as both hard and soft copies, so that they can be accessed in the catalogue of the university library. Of theses written before this period, only the abstract is initially digitized and the remaining content is subsequently digitized if required. A link between the ABCD general catalogue and the library software DSPACE is planned for a supra-regional record of these works.

To protect intellectual property, the digitized works have not yet been offered as open access, but are only available within the IT infrastructure of Moi University. The release of these documents for researchers at the University of Bayreuth, which is one of the aims of this project, is therefore primarily hindered by legal rather than technical challenges. For this reason, the University Governing Board is currently working together on a guideline to obtain explicit consent from authors and faculties for the digital publication of future papers. By amending the examination regulations, copyright infringements can thus be avoided and these documents can be published legitimately. The necessary consents for the previously digitized works are currently being obtained retrospectively from the authors and faculties via a corresponding process.

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